This is my third Glenn Beck book that I have read and it is by far the best. As a person who pays attention to political issues, I found An Inconvenient Book and Common Sense a little basic though containing new information. In Arguing with Idiots Glenn Beck provides a great deal of information for people in tune with politics and enough to blow the others away. Glenn should have provided either some duct tape with the book or at least a coupon to buy a roll.
As I read these types of books, I use post-it tabs to mark sections that I want to review. One of the best compliments that I can give Arguing With Idiots is that I used dozens of tabs and actually had to limit myself or I would have had a lot more.
In typical Beck A.D.D. fashion, there are plenty of side notes adorning the pages. In Inconvenient Book, I found these to be a distraction, but actually enjoyed them in this book. His “A.D.D. Moments” were some of my favorite parts of the book. Another remarkable thing about the book is its overall quality; heavy paper stock, full color; just really well made. It actually feels good. That may sound weird, but I prefer hardbacks and this is a very nice hardcover.
Glenn Beck gives us plenty of anti-idiot ammunition covering everything from capitalism to illegal immigration to energy and the Constitution. Beck not only provides the facts (backed up by an extensive citations), but provides some humor too. God knows that we need humor these days.
One of the interesting sections in the chapter about Capitalism, Beck actually defends the United States Postal Service. The USPS is commonly used as an example to bash government running things. I have always had a differing view. I have gotten to know some postal workers and have spoken to them about their constraints. I have learned that they basically have very little flexibility (really none) in running their business. During the 2008 high gasoline prices, the USPS had no method to adjust their rates to reflect their increased costs. Parcel competitors UPS and FedEx were able to adjust.
Glenn Beck’s defense of the USPS gives further insight into the service. It seems that the USPS has been trying unsuccessfully to close underutilized post offices since the 1970s. They recognized the need for cost savings and tried to make changes, but were prevented by politicians. The estimated saving would have been $100 million a year. If you remember, that is the same amount that the Obama White House bragged about saving through cuts. You may also remember that their $100 million savings was going to take place over a period of many years.
The USPS has also proposed to eliminate Saturday delivery. This would have saved, drum roll please, $400 million dollars EACH YEAR! This was once again stopped by congress…in 1977. In fact the USPS floated both ideas again as they face major financial losses only to be opposed again by elected officials. Idiots!
Is it any wonder why government keeps getting bigger? Beck also provides some data on government expansion:
In 1990 the federal government consumed less than 5% of our total economic output
In 1950 the federal government consumed about 15% of total output
In 1999 the federal government consumed about 19% of total output
In 2009 the federal government will spend over 28% of total output.
This information is presented in the form of percentage of economic output to allow comparisons without adjusting for inflation. It would be interesting to see the consumption in real dollars. I looked in the citations and Beck actually got his numbers from the White House web site. That’s rich.
Do yourself a favor and buy the book, stop and get a pack of post-its (maybe some duct tape too), and settle in to be enlightened, shocked, empowered, and ticked off, but you will be ready to argue with idiots.